Festival of Controversies happening at Diggi palace in Jaipur fom20th to 24th January 2012 finally ended with literature.
Last two sessions on the last day of the fest has made me state the previous statement the way it is, as these were the sessions which saw maximum number of audience and some real literary debate, apart from eye candies and the Rushdie controversy, which dominated the festival.
Though there were some great conversations, sessions, and debates which took place this year along with the participation of some wonderful authors and writers like Mohammed Hanif, Ben Okri, David Remnick, Tom Stoppard , David Hare, Philip Gourevitch, Joseph Lelyveld which were from different genre of literature, still according to Aditi, a visitor who have been visiting the Festival from its early editions.
“It was a faded show this year, we found it less focused on literature and intellect in comparison to previous versions of the same festival. Literature festivals like this should be more focused on rational debates and true conversations instead of media centric controversies.”
Maybe the presence of celebs and eye candies like Oprah created difficulty for some people; others seemed to enjoy it at the same time. A student, Vikas, from Delhi University said, “You don’t get to see Oprah so easily, it was great, and also we got our books signed by our favourite authors, this festival is complete fun.”
In terms of Literary value festival brought some great works of scholars from across the world on the common stage along with the people from same fraternity. Magnetic Personalities like Michael Ondaatje, Amy Chua, , Steven Pinker, Oprah Winfrey, Kamin Mohammadi, Fatima Bhutto, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Teju Cole, Taiye Selasi , Hari Kunzru,Tahmima Anam staged the festival along with their Indian counterparts like Shoma Choudhary, Aruna Roy, Anupam Kher,Shashi Tharoor,Javed Akhtar,Rahul Bose,Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar who are few to name among other noted panjandrums who graced the festival.
In its fifth year, the Jaipur Literature Festival has grown from having only 18 writers and 100 viewers to consisting of more than 260 speakers and a participation of more than 80,000. Held at the Diggy palace every year, this years’ festival comprised more than 130 sessions ranging from the most varied of topics from poems to politics and from the Middle East to Africa. With participation by international and Indian literary figures, the Jaipur Literature Festival promises to bring together the most thought provoking personalities from across the globe onto one single platform in the beautiful environs of the pink city.
It was not just the amalgam of literature from sub continents and countries but also the blend of Music, Theatre, Food, and more importantly diverse cultures. The Festival has always been a landmark and only one of its kind in South Asian region which brings the debut writers and unheard voices under the same sky with international stars and popular bestsellers.
According to directors of the festival, “We remain the only literary festival in the south Asian region to showcase both the greatest names in international writing and the finest writers from India who produce their work in languages other than English.” After Each day in the evening everyone relaxed with the melodious tunes and music of varied singers from varied musical forms, from classical to rock, every performance left a mark and calmed the audience after a long tiring mind-boggling day.
Though this fest has always been a terrific stage for drawing writers and readers from India and across the world, but this time along with authors, writers, Literature, Music and Intellectual sessions festival also contributed to a lot of controversies from the very day it started, and revolved around Salman Rushdie contestation till the last day, which also acted as a catalyst in generating the unexpected publicity, that it has received.
So, overall it was a great Festival not only for literary enthusiasts but also a juicy fete for media as they chewed the meat of Rushdie controversy for the whole time.